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[ri-sid-uh-viz-uh m] /rɪˈsɪd əˌvɪz əm/
repeated or habitual relapse, as into crime.
Psychiatry. the chronic tendency toward repetition of criminal or antisocial behavior patterns.
Origin of recidivism
1885-90; < Latin recidīv(us) relapsing (recid(ere) to fall back (re- re- + -cidere, combining form of cadere to fall) + -īvus -ive) + -ism
Related forms
recidivist, noun, adjective
recidivistic, recidivous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for recidivism
  • So the other night two recovering frat guys and a former frat sweetheart were prepared to indulge in a little recidivism.
  • In the late seventies, there was a growing recognition that rehabilitation programs paid off in lower rates of recidivism.
  • Numerous studies have shown a correspondence between educational programs and reduced recidivism rates.
  • Positive familial and community ties are considered primary deterrents to recidivism.
  • The judge also observed that in this case there was no likelihood of recidivism, that is, of repeating this kind of activity.
  • With a high recidivism rate, the parole program's success story is often the exception rather than the rule.
  • And they know that traumatized survivors and undeterred rapists may, on release, be more prone to recidivism themselves.
  • The overriding concern is to prevent recidivism and to reduce the prison population.
  • In slowing recidivism, they turned prisoners from tax burdens into taxpaying citizens.
  • The prison system can only do more damage and increase recidivism to these individuals.
British Dictionary definitions for recidivism


habitual relapse into crime
Derived Forms
recidivist, noun, adjective
recidivistic, recidivous, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Latin recidīvus falling back, from re- + cadere to fall
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for recidivism

"habit of relapsing" (into crime), 1882, from recidivist + -ism, modeled on French récidivisme, from récidiver.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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recidivism in Medicine

recidivism re·cid·i·vism (rĭ-sĭd'ə-vĭz'əm)

  1. A tendency to lapse into a previous pattern of behavior, especially a pattern of criminal habits.

  2. The relapse of a disease or symptom. Also called recidivation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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